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Roy Gilmore remembered at St. Luke

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Gilmore, the longtime pastor and founder of the Baptist church on 232nd Street, died of natural causes Jan. 13, said Dr. Michael Baston, the current pastor at St. Luke. He was 79.And after a weekend of memorial services, Gilmore was remembered at a home going service Tuesday night as a man of excellence who lived a full life and had moved on to a better place."His life is his greatest legacy," said Minister Floyd Gilmore, Roy's nephew. "He has gone to the other side." Floyd Gilmore was the master of ceremonies at the service and he stressed throughout that it was not "a service of sorrow."The guests who gathered at St. Luke - including Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and James Sanders (D-Laurelton), Rev. Charles Norris and Capt. Steven Haynes of the 105th Precinct - obliged and honored Gilmore with songs and constant clapping, filling the church he founded with sounds his relatives said he loved.Gilmore founded St. Luke 41 years ago and retired as pastor in September, when he was replaced by Baston. Gilmore was also the founder of Gilmore Funeral Homes, which operated locations on Linden and Sutphin boulevards. Baston, who had known Gilmore all of his life, said his kindness and generosity went far behind the walls of his church. Gilmore also helped found several business in southeast Queens."Bishop Roy L. Gilmore was more than a bishop and pastor, more than a family man, more than a business, civic and community leader," Baston said. "Bishop Gilmore was a force of light in a dark world."Rev. Floyd Flake, the pastor of Jamaica's Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, was also on hand Tuesday and referred to Gilmore as a lifelong friend. Flake recalled a time when his brother was "having a hard time organizing his life" and came to Queens to be near him. Flake said he took his brother to see Gilmore, who offered him a job."Bishop Gilmore fired my brother six times," Flake recalled Tuesday. "I kept saying, 'you don't have to keep him,' but he always hired him back.""Thank God for this man of spirit," Flake added.Reach reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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